fernald school

Suffolk County Charter School: It  Actually Happened (sort of)

I haven’t seen anyone connect this any where else so I thought I would share what I found out by accident. If its old news then ignore me

Wow. Okay. So, I stumbled upon this area in my exploration of the Commonwealth Wasteland in Fallout 4 months ago before I completed my first play through. Suffolk County Charter School.

It was creepy and had a story to uncover so I went in. Im sure most of you know what I’m talking about so, no big deal. Its not secret or hidden. Just one of those cool Fallout areas that don’t have a quest attached but you feel compelled to figure out what the fuck happened.

Inside there were pink ghouls.

And pink goo.

While splattering these guys and looting everything in the facility (because Fallout) I uncovered the story behind this location. If you haven’t found it yet, SPOILERS, heres the summary:

“In exchange for funding, Principal Jackie Hudson agreed to implement the government’s experimental Nutritional Alternative Paste Program (NAPP) at the school. Participation required limiting food consumption within the school to a government-provided food paste. This decision was apparently made without the consent of faculty, students, or parents.

Per Principal Hudson’s announcements, the NAPP was launched on October 18 and any outside food was to be confiscated from then on. These announcements can be heard on three holotapes found throughout the school.”

So yeah. I just murdered a bunch of kids that were unwittingly being experimented on. I felt sort of shitty. My Sole Survivor didn’t give a fuck. She would gladly murder actual babies for that issue of Unstoppables or a bobblehead. She’s a collector, almost to the point of compulsion.

I found this area so interesting and tragic that I sought more info on the Fallout Wiki. There (and other sources/theories I’ve read) talk about how the pink goo is probably a reference to the film The Stuff (1985). 

A more popular theory is that its actually referencing “The Pink Slime”

“The food paste as a whole is a reference to Pink Slime, a food additive consisting of low-fat meat which was ground into a paste. It’s particularly infamous after being widely used as a meal alternative in American school lunches during 2012, which resulted in major controversy.”

Huh. Okay cool. I was satisfied with these being possible references. It made sense. And I never thought about it again. I mean, it was like, a year ago or some shit. I don’t know, a long ass time ago.

But then last night, while avoiding doing adult things, my ADHD kicked in as my meds wore off and I decided to hyper focus on watching weird YouTube videos covering topics like horrendous incidents, unsolved mysteries, conspiracy theories, that kind of stuff. Basically I sat there in my own world watching Rob Dyke and Dark5 videos.

Im not weird.

Anyway, Thats when I saw this and holy shit. I immediately thought of Suffolk County Charter School in Fallout 4. Something I hadn’t thought about in forever from a game I haven’t really played in months.

You can watch the video or heres a quick summary of events that took place at a school in Massachusetts:

“A group of former students who ate radioactive oatmeal as unwitting participants in a food experiment will share a $1.85 million settlement from Quaker Oats and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

More than 100 boys at the Fernald School in Waltham, Mass., were fed cereal containing radioactive iron and calcium in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The diet was part of an experiment to prove that the nutrients in Quaker oatmeal travel throughout the body.” New York Times, 1998

Yep. It happened in Massachusetts. MIT was involved.

Maybe all of this is stupid to everyone but honestly shit like this is why I LOVE video games. A simple location with no real importance to the main game (except collectibles) held a really interesting story that stuck with me, at least subconsciously. 

Easter eggs and references in games aren’t new but the fact that even after researching the in-game location I didn’t see any mention of the Fernald School (which could have been because the game was still fairly new then) and then randomly I stumbled upon what I think is unquestionably the real inspiration for this area is so cool to me.

Fallout lore is so dense and so far reaching, referencing other games, media, pop culture, and real life events. I fell in love all over again with this franchise based on this one small detail that dosent even matter in the grand scheme of the story. 

I had to share this because I couldn’t get it off my mind. That moment of being like “HOLY SHIT WAIT. THIS IS IN FALLOUT.” was something that I’m sure a lot of gamers can relate to and its exciting and interesting.

Hopefully you guys find this cool too!